Monday, November 30, 2009

The After-Thanksgiving Leftover Party!

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Mom, today I learned that the prettier pie gets eaten, but my ugly pie gets to come home with me for breakfast, so it's all good.

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I also learned that it doesn't pay to be the fun dad at the party.

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Really doesn't pay.

(Thanks to Jarom for being a piece of playground equipment so the rest of us could chat it up in the other room!)

It seems we're all so used to Black Friday mayhem that one news outlet felt the need to report that no one died this year.  There were tasers at one Toys 'R' Us store and a shopper was trampled at another, but the death toll stands at zero.  Good job, crazy shoppers.  Good job.

I should point out that I'm not without bias.  I refuse to shop on Black Friday on the grounds that I don't think a risk of death should be associated with Christmas gift giving.  I've always been weird that way.  I just posted an old column about my love for bargain shopping, but it doesn't run that deep.  I've never even been manhandled at a thrift store or yard sale, let alone trampled.

Trampled.  What a word. Trampled.  The more you say it, the more ridiculous it becomes.  A woman was trampled.  Shopping. For toys.  And she makes the news because she didn't die. 

What would they have written in her obituary if she had died?  "Jane Elizabeth Doe, beloved wife and mother, left this earth Friday, November 27, 2009, after a courageous battle with 500 bargain shoppers.  She died doing what she loved to do: punching her way through a crowd for a chance at a deal.  She will be sorely missed by all who loved her.  The TV we didn't get is also sorely missed."

Until next year, shoppers.  Until next year.

I didn't post my weekly column last week because I was too busy lying around in a food induced daze (it's hard work, people!).  So, here's a column from 2001 to get you ready for Christmas shopping at the thrift store. :)

Published January 20, 2001
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

I have a confession to make.  I am shopper.  I feel a certain thrill whenever I venture out in search of that perfect something.  I've come to believe it's the prehistoric "gatherer"instinct in me.  It's in my genes.  My mother is a shopping goddess, and as much as I hate to admit it sometimes, I am just like my mother.

This leads me to my second confession:  I am very, very cheap.  If I can't get it on sale, I don't want to buy it.  I refuse to buy anything new if I can find the same item used.  And at least one Saturday a month is spent in search of yard sale bargains that I can proudly display to friends and family.  And believe me, I do wear this skill like a badge of honor.

Being a benevolent person by nature, I have decided to impart this great wisdom on you, my adoring public.  I have compiled a list of rules and strategies which I am offering today only in what I'm affectionately calling the "JUNK SALE JUNKIE SALE OF THE CENTURY!!!"  I pondered calling it the sale of the millennium, but that would be excessive, don't you think?

RULE #1: Every yard sale deserves a second look.
Maybe you think you can tell from a perfunctory curbside glance whether or not a yard sale will yield your next treasure, but this is simply untrue.  Sure, those orange dresses, circa 1970, are a powerful repellant to most inexperienced garage sale shoppers, but they may be hiding a Giorgio Armani original...or at least a great Halloween costume.

RULE #2: The early bird gets the dirty looks.
Do no, I repeat, do not show up to a yard sale before the advertised opening time.  You need the sellers to be your allies, and this is the easiest way to make them your enemies.  So, just don't do it!

RULE #3: Haggle, haggle, haggle!
Let's face it, folks, this is used stuff...as in, somebody has already worn it, slept on it, read it, or otherwise USED it.  The price is always negotiable, and anyone holding a yard sale who believes differently has no business in the business.  Even if you only manage to reduce the price by 10 cents, that's 10 more cents to spend as you see fit.  That romance novel on the book table isn't looking so out of reach now, is it?

RULE #4: When it comes to thrift stores, time is your new best friend.
When you head out to a thrift store, make it an event.  Wear comfortable shoes, pack provisions, and plan to spend a minimum of one hour.  You absolutely cannot afford to miss a good deal, so you're going to have to spend some time at each rack. As you become more practiced at this, you'll be able to whip past polyester pantsuits without so much as a second glance until you come upon the perfect find.

RULE #5: If all else fails, Go West!
Now, I'm all for shoping in my community and helping the local economy, but there are some things that simply can't be found in the Southern Utah area.  Chalk it up to the prevailing values of industry and frugality.  People here just don't seem to shop frivolously, which means their yard sales won't turn up that outrageously expensive item you've been craving.  A quarterly pilgrimage to that great yard sale Mecca is definitely in order.  Can you say, "Las Vegas?"  Believe me, that autographed  Velvet Elvis will more than make up for the gas.

Now that you're all educated in the intricacies of second hand shopping, I urge you to go out and put your newfound skills to good use.  Get out there!  Find those bargains!  Slay that shopping dragon!

What? You're low on funds because you overdid it during the holidays?  Hmmmm...maybe you could hold a yard sale.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

You know the one...

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Mom, today I learned that the "spontaneous-high-pitched-squeal-of-delight" gene is still active in my DNA.

Friday, November 27, 2009

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Mom, today I learned that Richard's phone, though significantly cheaper than mine, has way cooler camera options.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

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Mom, today I learned that I need a double boiler to make a chocolate cream pie. I've learned that every Thanksgiving for the last 10 years, but when the pies turn out tasty anyway, you tend to forget those little details. On a related note: Mmmmmmm...pie.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!  I've been busy baking pies and wondering why my rolls aren't rising while trying to get my kids to understand that we don't own a Shop-Vac, so sucking up large objects and small animals is not a great idea.  By the grace of the Mayflower, we will be ready to feast tomorrow!

But wait!  I've forgotten something!  I never bought my traditional, ridiculous Thanksgiving hat.  What was I thinking?  I can't serve up an elegant meal at my table without a stupid hat on my head!  Why, it's downright un-American.

Fortunately for me, there are kind people out there creating ridiculous hats just for the holiday.  Follow the links and feast your eyes on these beauties:
 
NEW Gobbler Thanksgiving Bird TURKEY HAT parade pilgrim

Hey, I didn't name it.  It is the custom of some Ebay sellers to include as many keywords as possible in the names of their products to maximize their chances of coming up on a Google search.  For instance, I googled "thanksgiving mini parade" just to see what came up and found this.  Congratulations, seller.  Your keywords landed you on my stupid products post.  You must be very proud.

As for the hat, it took me a minute to decide if the fake red hair was just attached to the mannequin or if it was, indeed, part of this monstrosity of a hat. I regret to inform you that the hair is included.  The good news is that this hat is sure to "get you gobbling."  I don't kow about you, but it's been way too long since I last gobbled.  If you snipe me on this sale, I will take pictures of you in the hat and send them to your boss.

Plush Gobbler Hat

If doll hair isn't doing it for you, you can try this turkey hat.  There's not much of a description, but the picture is pretty self explanatory.  Bonus points to this seller for having the turkey's plush legs dangle down over the ears of the wearer.  This hat is perfect for those chilly runs into the store for forgotten corn starch or whipping cream.


RAW TURKEY-THANKSGIVING HAT-NEW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think the look on this guy's face says it all. Why, God, why? Note the sellers claim this hat has "hundreds of uses and applications!" Okaaaay, there's wearing it on your head and, uh, burning it in your fireplace? That's only two. I guess I could use it as toilet paper in a pinch, but that would seriously reduce any further uses or applications.

If you want to wear a raw turkey on your head, the only correct way was demonstrated by Monica on "Friends." It's real turkey or nothing, people.

That's all I've got for today.  It's time to put the rolls in the oven and pray for the best. Have a great Thanksgiving holiday and remember, a turkey's not a turkey unless it's on your head.

Just...you know...FYI.

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Mom, today I learned that I didn't milk my newlywed status nearly as long as I could have.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

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Mom, today I learned that if I want to eat a child for dinner, the youngest cuts are the cheapest!

Monday, November 23, 2009

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Mom, today I learned that Quill doesn't quite understand the rules of cat behavior when it comes to bathtubs.  I think I'll call him Anti-Cat.

With Christmas just about a month away, you might be wondering just what to get that special someone in your life. Men, if that someone is a woman, you might consider a nice piece of jewelry, for instance, the kind one Mother Load sponsor sells on this site. Cute stuff, huh?  Every piece is elegant and versatile.  Not a single bit of it says, "I came out of the wrong end of a wild animal."  Call me crazy, but I like that in my jewelry.

What kind of jewelry would say such a thing, you ask?  Oh, naive Christmas shopper, you have much to learn.  Apparently, an Illinois zoo is offering up necklaces made from the dung of their resident reindeer just in time for the Christmas shopping rush.  You can read the full story here.

According to the story, the practice of creating baubles from bowel movements is nothing new.  Last year, the zoo offered Christmas ornaments made from reindeer droppings, and these were "swept up" by eager shoppers who think sparkly pieces of excrement are the perfect complement to popcorn garlands and tinsel.  I guess if you want your artificial tree to seem more authentic, animal droppings are the way to go.

In an attempt to get a bit more personal with the meadow muffins this year, someone at the zoo decided to add to the crap collection and make some jewelry.  Each piece sells for $15 at the gift shop, or you can purchase your jewelry online for $20.  Holy Deer Diarrhea, Batman!  That's a bargain!  (I can imagine a woman proudly showing off her purchase: "You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen?  They made my necklace.")

I suppose I should point out that the dung is sterilized before it's covered in glitter and resold as jewelry.  Because, you know, feces are fine as long a they're sterilized.  It's okay if the reindeer who produced your earrings had an intestinal parasite.  The worms are definitely killed in the sterilization process.  Feel free to wear them close to your face or leave them around for your baby to chew on.  They're clean!

I have no beef (venison?) with the zoo trying to make money.  This particular zoo lost about $200,000 this year in budget cuts, so I guess they're feeling a bit desperate.  Or maybe they're going with the reverse psychology angle.  For all we know, they're hoping people will pay them not to send them poop jewelry.
 
It's worth $15 to me...

(Thanks to Jami K. for making manure-free jewelry.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

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Mom, today I learned that my husband won't complain about ANYTHING for the rest of our lives if I agree to make biscuits and gravy for dinner every Sunday night.  Now, where can I find a Mary Kay consultant...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

No, really! It's "fur real!"

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Mom, today I learned that parrots have fur.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I am a people watcher.  People-watching is one of my favorite hobbies and one of the reasons I love going to airports, malls, and Las Vegas casinos (What?  Why did YOU think I liked those?)  People are fascinating.  So much of human emotion and behavior is on display everywhere you go.  There's so much to learn from humanity!

For instance, I remember a time my family was visiting somewhere and headed over to use the public restrooms.  Waiting on a bench outside, my mother, sisters, and I saw my brother emerge, wiping his hands on his pants.  He looked at us sheepishly and said they were all out of paper towels in the men's room, and they didn't have air dryers at all.

My mom got a mischeivous look on her face and pointed out that if we sat there a bit longer, we would know which men had washed their hands and which hadn't.  It was a grand people-watching moment...one that has made me never want to shake hands with men again.

That experience pales in comparison to the one I had this week.  I accompanied my husband to traffic court to act as moral support (and play a game I'm calling "See if anyone mistakes me for a lawyer"). I soon found I had stumbled upon the ultimate people-watching venue.  If you are a people watcher, you must go to traffic court.  Traffic court is the Everest of people-watching.

The first thing I noticed when I entered the courtroom (after the obligatory metal detector scan) is that movie courtrooms are complete crap.  Movie courtroom scenes occur in large rooms filled with character, mahogany benches, and a judge's bench that towers above the floor.  This room had all the character of a dinner plate.  We sat on folding chairs and faced a judge's seat that was barely two inches above us.  There wasn't even a gavel.  What's up with that?

But I should get to the people.  Let's see...There was the bailiff, all bluster and authority and, "Turn your cell phones off or I'll start taking them!"  Ok, Officer Bailiff Deputy Constable Buttkicker.  Will do.  Now, can you turn it down a notch?

Then there was the judge.  I'll call her The Honorable Judge Patience McTolerant because she didn't spontaneously combust from sheer frustration during the course of her duties.  She was middle aged and looked tired.  She wore no make up, and her hair had a decided frizz to it, like she'd just jumped out of bed, thrown her robe on over her pjs and run a brush through her hair on the car ride over to the courthouse.  I can't blame her.  I wouldn't try to control my frizz or flyaways if I had to face a room full of people who couldn't understand simple instructions.

Example: Upon check-in, everyone was handed a set of papers to fill out.  If you planned to plead "not guilty" for all your charges, you filled out the first page.  Any plea of "guilty" and you had to fill out every one.  This was explained on the paperwork, by the bailiff, by a court appointed interpreter, and by the judge.  This instruction was followed by exactly 0.09 of the defendants pleading guilty.  My hair is frizzing up right now just remembering it.

My favorite bit of courtroom drama occurred when a small, confused woman approached the podium and The Honorable Judge Patience McTolerant read her charges.

The Honorable Judge Patience McTolerant: You are charged with driving without a license, driving an uninsured vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, and causing a collision.  Do you understand these charges?
Small, Confused Woman: (heavily accented) I'm very sorry.  I made a mistake.  I...
The Honorable Judge Patience McTolerant: Wait, wait.  I'm only asking...
Small, Confused Woman: Guilty.
The Honorable Judge Patience McTolerant: No, no.  We're getting ahead of ourselves here.  Do you understand...
Small, Confused Woman: How much?
The Honorable Judge Patience McTolerant: Uh, how much?  Well, the fines are $895, but...
Small, Confused Woman:  Ok, I can maybe pay in December.  I get Social Security.
The Honorable Judge Patience McTolerant: Okay, we're going to schedule a pre-trial conference and I'm going to appoint you an attorney...
Small, Confused Woman: Or maybe if my kids give me some money (nervous laughter)...
The Honorable Judge Patience McTolerant: Okay.  Why don't you have a seat over there.  No, over there.  Yes, right there.
(Officer Bailiff Deputy Constable Buttkicker leads the small and confused witness to her seat, then scowls at all of us, no doubt looking for cell phones.  Small confused woman smiles placidly and wonders if Jimmy Carter won the election.)
Richard: I would have a nervous breakdown right in the middle of the courtroom if I had to be the judge.
Sarah: I think we should come here every week for a date!  This is GREAT!

For a people watcher, court is nonstop excitement. What are his charges? Will she plead guilty or not guilty? Did he really think those photos were going to make a difference? Did she really just say, "How do I get a driver's license?" If I throw something to startle that man and prove that neck brace is phony, will they give me a medal?


A few other notable examples of humanity: The woman who had been to court so many times the judge smiled and inquired about her children.  The 70 year old man asking for leniency as this was his first offense...ever...in his entire life (The Honorable Judge Patience McTolerant couldn't give him any, though it looked like she wanted to after her encounter with Small, Confused Woman). The court reporter who didn't even show up until the third defendant was at the podium and who looked, for all the world, to be playing solitaire behind her computer screen.

Richard was called up about and hour and a half into the proceedings, pleaded not guilty, provided his documents proving his traffic court innocence, and that is where my people-watching ends.  I managed to not jump to my feet and shout, "I object," even though I really, really wanted to.

I plan to go again next week. I'm bringing Small, Confused Woman just for the heck of it.

Mmmmmmmmm...

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Mom, today I learned that every time I look at this picture, I'm going to crave fish tacos.  I love Mexican Foo!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

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Mom, today I learned that my daughter knows exactly how to act around boys.  That's right, Cate.  They're icky!  And don't you forget it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

We women live in a world of bra choices.  Some bras promise to increase a woman's cup size.  Some say they'll turn back time and defy gravity.  Some offer support, while others bind.  Yes, for nearly every bra need, there is a bra to fill it.  (Heh, heh...fill it...get it?)

Moving on!

Unfortunately for some women, there has never been a bra to fill that very urgent, nearly overpowering need to practice their golf short game...UNTIL NOW!

Ladies, I give you, the Make-the-Putt Bra!



Produced by a company called Triumph International Japan, which also made the Chopstick Bra to raise awareness about deforestation and the Post Office Bra to raise awareness about a Prime Minister's attempt to privatize the postal service (and why not?), the Make-the-Putt Bra apparently raises awareness about, um, the negative effects of losing at miniature golf in front of your friends.  (It's not fun.  Believe me.  I know.)

After checking out the video, I have a few questions for Triumph International Japan.

Q: Can I get an interpreter?  I don't speak Japanese.  Thanks.

Q: The model is putting on a bra while wearing the bra.  Forgive my ignorance, but does this mean I'm supposed to have two of these bras at all times?  Do I wear one and carry the other around for those quiet moments when it's time to practice my putting?  If I'm not going to putt on the bra I'm wearing, why make it a bra in the first place?

Q: Are those cups made of metal?  Do you have nipples?  Would you want metal on your nipples?  Stop blushing.  There's nothing wrong with the word "nipples."  Nipples, nipples, nipples.  See?  (And if you would want metal on your nipples, please, keep it to yourself.)

Q: Don't you find your product a bit on the elitist side?  You know...golf, country clubs, upper crust.  What's next?  The "Yacht Race Bra" (with built in barnacles!)?  Why not make a bra for us regular folks?  Or is the thought of a "Get-a-Strike Bowling Bra" just too bourgeois for you? I guess I won't hold my breath on the "Nascar Race Track Bra."

Q: Where do we keep the putter?  (Don't answer that.)

Q: How many women do you know who have such a need to practice their putting that they could be helped by your product?  I mean, are there really women in the middle of their workday shouting, "Quick! I need to putt!  NOW!  If only my bra could magically transform!"

Q: I have chesty friends who say a Make-the-Putt Bra in their cup size would make the game extremely easy.  If I were to compete with them in a Make-the-Putt Bra miniature golf tournament using a bra in my size, would I get a handicap?

Final Q: Has your interpreter actually been interpreting my questions or has he just been making fun of my chest this whole time?  Yeah...I thought so.

(Thanks to Karen W. for the Stupid Product idea and to Jauna G. for being a chesty friend.) 

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Mom, today I learned that if you put an exclamation point in the title of your film, I will pronounce it accordingly when purchasing my ticket. I also learned that the box office employee at this particular theater thinks I'm funny.  I'm going to bake him some cookies.
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And I learned that as long as people keep seeing these movies, they're going to keep making these movies.  And you wonder why I want to become a hermit sometimes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Isn't that why you build one?

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Mom, today I learned that our snowman has a whole lot of raking to do.  He'd better get on that.

Monday, November 16, 2009

So, it seems back in February, the federal government took a break from handing out millions to banks and corporations that were "too big to fail" and decided to send a couple bucks to Joe Taxpayer in the form of a tax credit that lowered the amount of tax taken out of our paychecks.  Our portion of the stimulus amounted to a max of $400 a person or $800 to married couples.  Now that the economy is supposedly about to almost very nearly improve (they think, but don't quote them), the government wants its money back. You can read the story in full here.

Because of a mistake made by the IRS (Whaaa? The IRS? Make a mistake?), about 15 million Americans will have to pay back $250 or more of the stimulus money because the government didn't take into account the fact that in a tanking economy such as this, some people might work two jobs to make ends meet, or that some Social Security recipients have to work anyway, or that a majority of married couples live in dual earner families.  Overachievers!

Apparently, when someone in government figured out the problem last spring, a campaign was put in motion to raise public awareness of the problem so people would have a chance to adjust their withholdings.  I believe the slogan of the campaign was, "Fix our mistake! It's as simple as doing your taxes!"  You saw it, right?

So, basically, the government handed out money so we could "spend the economy into recovery," then realized it was too much and told everyone to adjust their withholdings so they'd get less money with each paycheck instead of more, and now wants a portion of the money back at tax time.  I call that a Win/Win/Win, don't you?

Of course, the government has to be cautious.  They can't just give us a ton of money when we were the ones who screwed things up in the first place.  Wait...

I mean, the government can't trust us with the money, since we'd all just give ourselves $1 million bonuses.  Wait...

I mean, the government has to get the money back since we didn't use it to free up credit.  Wait...

Good news, though.  The tax credit is in place again next year!  As long as you don't adjust your withholdings, you'll get back everything you had to pay back this year!  Wait...

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Mom, today I learned that I will never, ever have brain surgery in Tacoma, Washington.

(Thanks to Heather D. for the pic!)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sorry, Stephenie Meyer fans...

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Mom, today I learned that I'm going to need a lot of this...


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...to get through the next month of this.

I tried to like The Twilight Series. I really did. I just couldn't handle the codependent theme I kept seeing between all the flinching, cringing, and wincing.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hooked on Phonics worked for me!

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Mom, today I learned we have a definite illiteracy problem in Salt Lake.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Polygamy...is it really so bad?

When I lived in Southern Utah, I was within an hour or so of the polygamist community of Colorado City, Arizona. The first time I passed this town, I was curious. When I learned about the inner workings of polygamist life from a coworker who happened to be one herself, I was surprised. When I was a single mom finally feeling ready to step into the dating world and was told polygamist men were known to troll the single's dances in my town in a quest for new wives, I was terrified.

Today? While I have no desire to enter into the "Twisted House on the Prairie" life of a fundamentalist in Colorady City (incest, corruption, and thought control, oh my!), I'm feeling like there might be something to the whole "sister wife" thing.

Stay with me here. I don't really want to be a polygamist. I just want a wife. Confused? You've come to the right place!

Back in the 60s and 70s, feminists and perfume manufacturers were telling women they could do it all. Take a look.



Ah, yes. Because I am a W-O-M-A-N, I can work full time, come home and do several hours of housework, and then still have plenty of energy to play the vixen for my M-A-N. At this point, I've told my husband I can offer 2 out of 3 on my really good days, and I let him decide what he wants. Our house is usually a mess.

Don't get me wrong...we all try to keep the place running. I don't completely ignore the house, and Richard is no slouch, either. The kids have chore charts, and we try really hard to make it work. The sad reality is that if there are two parents working full time, neither of them is fully capable of running the house. People have told me to hire a housekeeping service, but if I could afford that, I wouldn't be working.

And even if I weren't working, I'd still be going to school full time, so I'd still need extra help around the house. Every time I look at this situation, I realize we need a wife. He needs one and I need one. We just need someone who can pick up the slack, manage things, be there when we get home at the end of the day to rub our shoulders and put a nice meal on the table.

And so...

Blogger/Humorist and Spouse seek sister wife to perform both basic and advanced home management duties, full time, in the Salt Lake Area. Applicant should possess patience, a cheerful demeanor, excellent cooking skills, and exceptional organizational skills, and must agree to work mornings, evenings, weekends, and holidays. The successful applicant will be shorter, fatter, and not nearly as cute as the Blogger/Humorist and should be just interesting enough to provide the Blogger/Humorist with engaging conversation without outshining the Blogger/Humorist in conversations with the Spouse. Women with disfiguring facial scars are highly encouraged to apply. Schedule will vary and duties will be shared with Blogger/Humorist and Spouse at the discretion of Blogger/Humorist. The successful applicant will understand that certain duties, such as never, never, never, letting Spouse forget that he's her man will only be performed by the Blogger/Humorist. A prescription antidepressant to wipe out the applicant's libido will be provided free of charge. Compensation includes paid vacation with the family whenever we can plan it, frequent Girls' Nights Out (but not with my friends...you'll have to find your own), and a new wardrobe compliments of the local thrift store.

If the successful applicant can figure out what to get everyone for Christmas and can pass all my finals, I'll throw in a year's supply of Enjoli perfume.

Wal Mart Fail!

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Mom, today I learned that the makers of Great Value Oven Ready Lasagna forgot to put preparation instructions on the boxes of lasagna that I have in my house. I also learned that I was the 900,000th caller to complain about this fact and that Wal Mart has the instructions on its website and is working to correct the problem. The most important thing I learned? Great Value customer service reps have the worst job on earth. (I feel really bad for asking her if the universe was supposed to tell me how to cook my lasagna.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The wisdom of a four year old

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Mom, today I learned that all the trees are "almost butt naked." Thank you, Michael.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Stupid Products: LED Toilet Seat

Is your bathroom color scheme a bit on the blah side? It is? Well, then, I'm pleased to introduce you to the product that could end the drab bathroom blues. Ladies and Gentlemen, the LED Toilet Seat, the glowing, ocean/space themed answer to your problem. You can see the shimmering toilet seat in all its glory at this site. Just look at how the seat gives off a bright and cheerful "TA-DA!" as it opens and closes.

Now, I should point out that this pricey piece of potty is sold by a company called Windy City Novelties, so it's not being marketed as a product that should be taken seriously. However, being a novelty product does not automatically exempt it from Stupid Product status. I could mass produce a close-up photo of my ear wax and sell it as a novelty greeting card. You'd still think it was stupid. (And rightly so!)

I have a few problems with this product.

A) LED technology should not be equated with fecal matter. I'm just saying.

B) It's $59. As you can see here, your standard toilet seat costs about $15. Prices can get up to $50 for padded, tastefully decorated, or heated seats, but these are things worth paying for. If you want your toilet seat to glow in the dark, they have cheap stickers for that. The site says, "your guests will be smiling," when they see this. I think the word they're looking for is smirking. It's the expression that goes with sentiments like, "Can you believe this moron paid money for that?"

C) When I use the toilet, I'm not interested in a light show. I have a strict "Get in, get done, get out" policy about these things. I don't go to the bathroom for entertainment, is what I'm saying.

D) Cleanup...how?

E) I make use of the toilet when I AM nauseated. I don't get there to BECOME nauseated. Even now, I can only stand the picture of this thing for a few moments at a time. I can't imagine what the real thing would do to me.

Maybe there are people out there dreaming of the day they can plant their naked bottoms on a $59 light show and do their business in style. To those people I say, "Sorry. The LED Toilet Seat is out of stock, but I've got a very nice ring of Christmas lights I can set up in the yard."

Your guess is as good as mine...

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Mom, today I learned Ray needs a bag of chips for a "rombayboo" at school. I think he means rendezvous, but his way makes me giggle, so I'm keeping it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christmas time is here?

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Mom, today I learned that Thanksgiving is an afterthought. I was going to boycott all stores with Christmas decorations up, but then I realized we'd starve.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Did you hear Steven Tyler, the crazy frontman of the rock group, Aerosmith, quit the band? No? Neither did the rest of the band. According to a story on Digital Spy, guitarist Joe Perry learned Tyler had called it quits after reading about it online. If you don't want to miss a thing, you can read the full story, in all its sad detail, here.

Oh, Aerosmith...I knew you so well. You brought such sweet emotion into my life. You were my amazing angel. How can you leave me cryin' like this?

According to Perry, the last few months have been strained. Band members have been trying to figure out what it takes to keep Tyler happy, livin' on the edge as they've kept their feelings to themselves. No one was willing to draw the line over his lack on communication and his tendency to cancel shows. Apparently too jaded to care, Tyler decided he was bored with the same old song and dance and has gone to see what his career will be like on the other side.

When asked about the future of Aerosmith, Perry says the band will continue. I'm tickled pink. Whether or not the band will continue with Tyler back in the saddle is still in question. Perry says he's trying to figure out what direction the band will take.

I suggest they walk this way.

So, we went on vacation, and I scheduled posts for Friday and Sunday thinking (erroneously) that I'd have some time to post something on Saturday. How erroneously erroneous of me. (Do you think I like that word?) So, today, you get the Super Big Spectacular Vacation Edition of What I Learned Today to make up for what you missed.

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Mom, today I learned that when my son gets his hand stuck in his sister's new toy...

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...my first response will be, "Wait! I need to take a picture!"

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I learned I can restrain myself, no matter how much I want to steal someone's bumper sticker.

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And that I will never pass up an opportunity to say, "I've climbed that 4 times," even if everyone else in the car already knows that.

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I learned that sleep makes friends out of sworn road trip enemies.

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I learned that if you say, "I just want to shave my head," around my friend, Michelle, she will hold you to it.


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My sister is going to be saving a lot of money on shampoo.

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I learned that my husband can fall asleep in any position.

And finally...












I learned that no matter how excited I am to win the "worst bed head" competition, I will delete the picture before I have the chance to put it on the blog. That's my gift to you.

And you thought I didn't bring you anything from my trip...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

They're $1 each for $1!

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Mom, today, I learned that redundancy is alive and well in America's grocery stores. And I learned that I don't know what "RibbEYE" steak is. And that whatever it is, it's cheap for cheap...each! For $1!

Friday, November 6, 2009

He's so talented...

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Mom, today I learned that my husband can sing his ABCs "backward."

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And upside down!

Two columns for the price of one!

*Author's note: I'm officially on vacation (no staycations for me!) today, so instead of writing up a new column, which would be work, I'm treating you all to two of my old favorites. The first is the column that got me the job, the first edition of Mother Load published in the St. George Spectrum. The second is the third edition, published a month later. It's one of my all time favorites. Enjoy!

Mom Looking for Replacement Parts
Published December 9, 2000
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

I recently heard of a couple who gave birth to a child conceived to provide a bone marrow transplant for a sibling. Apparently, the parents were able to test several embryos until they found the embryo with the winning genetic material. This, of course, immediately gave rise to discussions of the ethics of so-called "designer babies," as well as humans being manufactured to provide needed replacement parts.

Now, I don't know about you; but I just don't see what the big deal is. Being the mother of three children under the age of four, I'd love to make a wish list of replacement parts. I'd even like a few additions!

I think the first thing I'd have to replace would be my mind. Nearly four long years of baby talk, silly songs, and Nick Jr. have, unfortunately, left me a babbling idiot when it comes to adult conversation. A friend asked the other day if I was following the current debate on the floor of the House, and I blurted out that if the Bear wants to live in a Big Blue House, it ought to have a big blue floor.

Sanity aside, I don't know what I would love more than a new tummy, since I seem to have misplaced the old one. My greatest joy in life has become making it through a day without someone asking me when I'm due. On the other hand, I can't discredit the advantages of people thinking I'm expecting. I always get a seat in a crowded room.

Also up for replacement would have to be my chest. Now, every true blue La Leche leaguer can extol the virtues of nursing your babies and give you every scientific reason it's the best thing going. But how many actually let eager moms-to-be know that once the nursing stops...the chest drops? It's a secret no one wants to tell you, although I'm quite sure the formula manufacturers could double their annual profits by adding that little tidbit to their commercials.

As for parts I'd like to just add to my body, I'd put a special valve for my nostrils at the top of my list. You know, one that opens up for good smells such as home-baked bread and chocolate chip cookies, and locks down tight against the bad ones such as dirty diapers. Let's face it, folks; that wonderful new baby smell quickly gives way to something akin to rancid refried beans.

And what busy mom wouldn't love an extra pair of arms? Okay, it's cliche, but can you blame me? Two arms...three kids...you do the math.

And I don't think I'm alone when I express my feelings of utter betrayal that becoming a mom did not automatically equip me with eyes in the back of my head, as my mother so convincingly lead me to believe. What a farce! I wonder how many women have become grandmothers by promoting this myth.

Perusing my wish list has lead me to one obvious conclusion. Forget replacement parts! I need a clone! Unfortunately, the U.S. government, among others, is still under the twisted opinion that human cloning is unethical and should be banned. I don't think I have to tell you the ratio of men to women in the House and Senate.

In light of this pertinent information, I suppose it's time to admit that I dream in vain. The ethicists will, undoubtedly, prevail. They usually do. I'll have to settle for what the good Lord has seen fit to provide me.

And I guess there's always my sweetheart to consider: my darling husband. He's good for an arm or two...on occasion. And when he's actually got his eyes off the TV or out of a book, they can be quite useful. On the average, husbands are as good as any clone, despite their lack of mammary glands.

Mammary glands! Now, there's a replacement part HE could use...
___________________________________________________


Published January 6, 2001
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

My husband and I recently attended a holiday dinner at our church. We shared our table with three other married couple in various stages of matrimony. From newlyweds expecting their first child to a couple married for more than 20 years, we were certainly a diverse group.

We had an enjoyable evening with no lack of good conversation. The men compared jobs and talked sports while the women of the group stayed to the usual topic: childbirth.

Thinking back, I had to ponder...Why does every group of women I am in inevitably land on the same topic of conversation? Do we really have nothing better to chat about? No matter how the conversation begins, the flow of words almost always heads in the same direction. At some point, the baby battle stories will begin.

For most veteran moms, this is neither a surprise nor a problem. But first timers beware! I can't imagine how normally thoughtful women can drag a newly pregnant and completely unsuspecting mom-to-be through such a terror fest. And young first timers are veritable magnets for women with the absolute worst childbirth tales.

"Oh me? I was in labor for three solid days! They finally had to just cut me open and rip that kid right out of my abdomen!"

"You think that was bad! I had to have over 75 stitches and couldn't sit down for a month!"

"Well, my anesthesiologist was out of town, so no epidural for me. I think they could hear me screaming all the way to X-ray."

Of course, there's one obvious reason for all this mommy one-upmanship. This was battle! I want you to see my scars...metaphorically speaking, of course. But the version of any childbirth tale you might hear will, invariably, differ from any other, because among these war-torn troops, there are three distinct subgroups.

My personal favorite group, of which I am a card-carrying member, are the "holier than thous." We're those natural childbirth advocates, those firm believers that drugs and doctors have their places...far away. We can't get enough of telling our stories to our wimpy sisters in trial. And the stories get better with every telling. Really, what's the point of going through natural childbirth if you can't feel superior about it?!

In direct contrast to my high and mighty comrades are the "interventionists." They're the ones most likely to say, "Are you NUTS?!" when you tell them you're even considering a drug free birth. I have a good friend in this group. I think she gets the epidural hooked up at about 8 months into her pregnancy. These women have an inherent trust in their doctors' advice and never question their orders...except when it comes to turning off the numbing juice. I pity any MD who tries to encourage anything but a drug-induced paralysis.

Finally, there are those women riding the philosophical fence between the "crazies" and the "dazies." I like to call them the "wait and sees." They may attend childbirth classes, but they never really make that decision. Some of the most graphic stories come from this group. They just don't believe it can be that bad, but once they experience it, get out of the way! These women need very little encouragement to head over to the interventionist side for subsequent births, if any.

I guess as long as there are babies being born, there will be mothers recounting all the gory details to mesmerized groups. Wherever a captive audience is found, you're more than likely to hear words like catheter, episiotomy, meconium, and abstinence. We just can't help ourselves. I spent the past weekend determined NOT to do this and ended up talking baby five times in one day!

With that in mind, and knowing that anyone reading this column is, undoubtedly, mesmerized...

Let me tell you a little bit about my 28-hour first labor...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

He was bleeding all over the floor.

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Mom, today I learned that when you start having nightmares that terrorists kill your husband because you incorrectly cross multiplied two equivalent rational expressions, it's probably time for some anti-anxiety medication.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stupid Products: Hell's Hair Bows

Before we begin our journey into Hair Bow Hell, I feel I should point out that I'm not a "bow person." I don't wear bows in my own hair, and I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've put a bow in any of my daughters' hair. My girls are so bow clueless that they think ordinary elastic hair ties are bows. I'm not sure they even know bows exist. After today, I'm very okay with that.

Before bow aficionados get all bent out of shape, let me say I have nothing against bows or people who wear bows or people who buy bows or people who make and sell bows to people who wear and buy bows. Did I cover all my bases there?

I do, however, have something against these bows.

The Hot Pink Glitter Skull with Rhinestones
Maybe this is meant as a Halloween accessory. I just don't know. This skull and crossbones bow sure is shiny, though. Just look at how all those rhinestones sparkle! They scream, "DANGER!" and "POISON!" in such a shimmery way, don't they? The next time one of my daughters plays with uranium, I'm so getting one of these to warn the neighbor kids away. Thoughtful seller...thinking of the rest of us.

The Glitter Bling Cross
Have a daughter you need to christen soon? Proudly display her Christianity with a 6 inch glitter and rhinestone crucifix nestled on a giant, hot pink, "poke a dot" bow attached to a brown, leopard print headband. Ah, "poke a dots" and leopard print...this is one classy hair accessory, let me tell you. According to the maker, it "blings from every angle." And you know, Jesus was all about the bling.

The Brass Knuckles Hair Clip
You read that right. Brass knuckles. On a kid's head. I weep for our future.

The Mermaid Bow
Sometimes, you have to laugh just to keep from crying. Other times, you have to laugh because you're looking at a picture of a woman with a large, plastic mermaid doll on her head and you realize someone wants $54 for it. I think both apply here.

(Thanks to Jauna G. for the Stupid Product idea! You can see her non-hellish bow designs here.)

Who needs a new toaster?

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Mom, today I learned my kids think that all I want for Christmas is to be able to do my homework undisturbed. They're probably right.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What? No carrot jockeys?

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Mom, today I learned that Cake Wrecks has ruined me. I'm completely okay with that.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Did you hear that Madonna and Lady Gaga are now friends? Weird, huh! It's so weird, someone decided to write a news story about it and now it's all over the internet. Because, you know, that's really weird! Two strange, scantily clad, attention seeking divas are friends! WEIRD! If you really want to, you can check out the article, although there's not much to see.

I'm trying to figure out what's more weird: that Lady Gaga and Madonna are friends, that Lady Gaga seems surprised that being friends with someone like Madonna WHILE being someone like Lady Gaga is weird, or that someone thought this story was news.

Lady Gaga: Your stage name is Lady Gaga. That is weird. You showed up on Saturday Night Live wearing a costume that defies description and then tried to play the piano in the same. That is weird. Your drag queen-esque attire has prompted many to question your gender. That is weird. Being friends with Madonna? It's probably the most normal thing I've seen you do.

I'm a couple of days late on this post, but I think you'll all forgive me when you see what I have found for you! This is my first Awesome Product review, and I don't think it gets more awesome than this.

If you're not a Weird Al fan, I forgive you. The good news is that I have enough Weird Al love in my heart for all of you unfortunates. The better news is that Weird Al has released a comprehensive anthology of his work, so people who haven't been listening to his music for the last 30 years can catch up with the rest of us.

You can learn about the anthology and see an interview with the king of parodies here. Isn't he cute? Isn't that smile just dreamy? Did you tear up a little when he mentioned his wife? I know I did. (What does he see in her, anyway?)

Why are you looking at me like I'm joking? I know I'm a humorist, but I take my Alfred Matthew Yankovic devotion very, very seriously. Mr. Yankovic has been, at times, my inspiration, my secret friend, and my muse. His music, the parodies and the original work, have been on the top of my coping skills list through some of my toughest trials.

There's a reason Weird Al has outlasted many of the artists he's parodied. He's a genius. (That's not a throwaway term. His IQ is worthy of MENSA.) His sharp wit and timely parodies entertain long after the original song is forgotten. I have absolutely no desire to slog through R. Kelly's bloated and ridiculous "Trapped in the Closet," but I could listen to Al's spot on parody, "Trapped in the Drive Thru," over and over again (and I have!).

You can order the 2 disc set on Weird Al's site. I highly recommend it. And if you're wondering what to get your favorite blogger for Christmas...

Never mind. His wife probably wouldn't go for it. (What does he see in her, anyway?)

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Mom, today I learned you should only roll down a hill if you're prepared to get nauseatingly dizzy.

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And if you look at something like this after rolling down that hill, you deserve whatever happens next.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Who needs sleep?

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Mom, today I learned that I am constitutionally incapable of leaving my sister in law's house at a reasonable hour.

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1:27 am is better than I usually do, though.